In its decision of 10 March 2011 in Kiyutin v. Russia (Application No. 2700/10), the European Court of Human Rights held unanimously that the refusal of the Russian authorities to grant a residency permit to a national of Uzbekistan on the basis of his HIV-positive status was discriminatory. The Court found that the refusal constituted a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights (read in conjunction with Article 8 on the protection of home and family life).
The applicant, a national of Uzbekistan, had been living in Russia since 2003 and is married to a Russian national, with whom he had a child. Upon application for a residence permit, he underwent a medical examination and tested positive for HIV. His application was then refused on the basis of a legal provision precluding the issuance of residency permits to HIV-positive non-nationals.
In its ruling, the Court noted that people living with HIV represented a vulnerable group in society which had been discriminated against in many ways in the past. The court noted that HIV-related travel restrictions were not imposed on tourists or short-term visitors or Russian nationals. It observed that the mere presence of an HIV-positive individual in the country did not constitute a threat to public health and that the selective imposition of HIV-related travel restrictions only on foreigners seeking residence were not justified. The Court found that Mr. Kiyutin had been a victim of discrimination on the basis of his health status in violation of Article 14, together with Article 8, and held that he was entitled to 15,000 euros in damages.
Photo: © Alfredovic / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-3.0